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World Far-right and others march against French virus rules

19:35  24 july  2021
19:35  24 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

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PARIS (AP) — Far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement protested Saturday against a bill requiring everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and other venues and mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers.

A man receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Carry le Rouet, southern France, Friday, July 23, 2021. In France locals and tourists need now a special COVID pass to visit museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a © Provided by Associated Press A man receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Carry le Rouet, southern France, Friday, July 23, 2021. In France locals and tourists need now a special COVID pass to visit museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a "stratospheric" rise in delta variant infections. (AP Photo/Nicolas Garriga)

Legislators in France’s Senate were debating the bill Saturday after the lower house of parliament approved it Friday, as virus infections are spiking and hospitalizations are rising anew. The French government is trying to speed up vaccinations to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals, and avoid new lockdowns.

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Most French adults are fully vaccinated and polls indicate a majority of French people support the new measures. But not everyone.

Protesters chanting “Liberty! Liberty!” gathered at Bastille plaza and marched through eastern Paris in one of several demonstrations Saturday around France. Thousands also joined a gathering across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower organized by a former top official in Marine Le Pen's anti-immigration party.

While most protesters were calm, tensions erupted on the margins of the Bastille march. Riot police sprayed tear gas on marchers after someone threw a chair at an officer. Other projectiles could also be seen in a video of the incident.

Many marchers focused their anger on a French “health pass” that is required to enter museums, movie theaters and tourist sites. The bill under debate would expand the pass requirement to all restaurants and bars in France and some other venues. To get the pass, people need to be fully vaccinated, have a recent negative test or have proof they recently recovered from the virus.

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People lining up to get a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Carry le Rouet, southern France, Friday, July 23, 2021. In France locals and tourists need now a special COVID pass to visit museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a © Provided by Associated Press People lining up to get a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Carry le Rouet, southern France, Friday, July 23, 2021. In France locals and tourists need now a special COVID pass to visit museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a "stratospheric" rise in delta variant infections. (AP Photo/Nicolas Garriga)

Lawmakers have debated the measure amid divisions over how far to go in imposing health passes or mandatory vaccinations.


Video: French protests call for 'freedom' amid government vaccine push (Reuters)

Last weekend, more than 100,000 people protested around France against the measures. They included far-right politicians and activists as well as others angry at President Emmanuel Macron for various reasons.

Remaining members of France’s yellow vest movement, largely from political extremes, are using the virus bill to try to rekindle its flame. The movement started in 2018 as a broad uprising against perceived economic injustice and led to months of protests marked by violence between demonstrators and police, but subsided after the French government addressed many of the protesters’ concerns.

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A woman receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Carry le Rouet, southern France, Friday, July 23, 2021. In France locals and tourists need now a special COVID pass to visit museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a © Provided by Associated Press A woman receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Carry le Rouet, southern France, Friday, July 23, 2021. In France locals and tourists need now a special COVID pass to visit museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a "stratospheric" rise in delta variant infections. (AP Photo/Nicolas Garriga)

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Follow all AP stories on the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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